Come on an exciting journey through the rugged mountains of northern Idaho and northwestern Montana! BNSF’s Kootenai River Subdivision is a busy section of the Northern Transcon running between Sandpoint Junction and Whitefish. High priority Z trains race between Chicago and the west coast. Stack trains, grain, coal, oil, and mixed merchandise trains run back and forth across the beautiful countryside.
This seldom visited line connects two well known railfan hot spots: The Funnel and Marias Pass. It follows the very scenic Kootenai River through the densely forested Cabinet Mountains, allowing trains to sprint along the water level course. Then it’s a steady 1 percent climb through the Salish Range where the thunder of hard-working diesels echoes through the mountains.
The top of the grade is marked by the seven mile long Flathead Tunnel, the second longest in the United States. Modern diesel locomotives are everywhere including GE ES44C4’s, GEOVS, Dash 9’s, EMD SD70ACe’s, SD70MAC’s, even SD90/43AC’s make an appearance on Union Pacific’s nearby Spokane Sub. Great railroading action and fantastic scenery abound in BNSF Railway’s Kootenai River Sub!